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Hos 1:1 The word of the LORD that came unto Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, [and] Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.
Ver. 1. The word of the Lord ] Not "cunningly devised fables," 2 Peter 1:16 , or human testimonies, that can make but a human faith; but the "word of the ever living God," 1 Thessalonians 2:13 , the "Scripture that cannot be broken," John 10:35 , the very heart and soul of God ( cor et anima Dei ), as Gregory calls it.
That came unto Hosea ] The Lord is said to come to Laban, Abimelech, Balaam, &c. But he never concredited his word to any such profane wretches, as he did to the holy prophets which have "been since the world began"; of whom it is said, as here, "The word of the Lord came to Hosea." His name signifieth a Saviour, Matthew 1:21 : a fit name for a minister, whose work is to "save himself and them that hear him," 1 Timothy 4:16 . To save them if he can, Obadiah 1:21 ; to deliver their souls from going into the pit, Job 33:24 ; to pull them, if possible, out of the fire, Judges 1:23 ; to "give them the knowledge of salvation by the remission of sin," Luke 1:77 : to give it, I say, not by infusion (for that he cannot do), but by instruction; and that he must endeavour to do, as this prophet did: than whom few ministers ever ran so long a race without cessation, or cespitation, so constantly, so courageously, so unweariably. For he continued prophesying sixty-five years at least, saith Pareus; seventy, saith Oecolampadius; it is very probable fourscore years, saith Mr Burroughes. The Hebrews say ninety years, quibus multa dixit quae non scripsit, wherein he uttered much more than he wrote. This we may easily believe: for we have but the short notes or heads of his sermons and larger discourses, which he seems also to have set down for the use of the Church in his extreme old age, whereof they carry a smatch in the shortness of his speech, applied, as much as might be, to the measure of his breath. Hence Jerome fitly called him, Commaticum et quasi per sententias loquentem, concise and sententious. Amputatas loquitur sententias et verba ante expectatum cadentia, as one saith of Sallust; Multo est verbis quam sensu restrictior atque concisior, as another saith of Livy: he speaketh much in few; and seems to have more sentences than sayings. The more often you read him the more you may get by him: et nunquam tamen dimittat te sine siti; and yet the more you get the more you covet (Lips. de Thucyd.). Obscure he is (as delivering things briefly), and such as will not be easily acquainted with you but upon further suit: hence that Epiphonema a in the perclose of his prophecy, "Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them?" But this must waken and not weaken our more diligent search, not being content with the first ore that offereth itself to our view, but digging deeper and deeper, till we become owner of the whole treasure, which will sufficiently pay for the pains. Wherefore "search the Scripture," "follow on to know the Lord"; get all the dimensions of knowledge, which (now in the great abundance of the means we have) doth even bow down to us, as trees do that are laden with fruit, so that a child may gather from them.
The son of Beeri ] That is, of a well that hath pure and clear water in it, and that never faileth; living water, as the Scripture calleth it, and not mixed with mud. Ministers should be children of Beeri, of a well digged by the direction of the lawgiver, Numbers 21:17 , whence people should draw waters with joy, the pure waters of life, the unadulterated milk of God’s word; not troubled, brackish, and sourish doctrines, such as the Popish clergy (called therefore "the sea," Rev 12:12 ) do set abroach which rather bring barrenness to their hearers and gnaw their entrails, than quench their thirst or cause fruit. These and all false teachers make God’s flock drink that which they have fouled with their feet, Ezekiel 34:19 , yea, impoisoned with their hands: as the malicious Jews once cast bags of poison into many wells here, to do mischief, and were therefore banished the country. False doctrine is like a filthy pond, wherein fish die soon and frogs live long: it is like the Dead Sea, or the great falling star, called Wormwood, Revelation 8:10-11 , which made "the third part of the waters become wormwood," so that "many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter" by that son of perdition, who was himself the "gall of bitterness, and bond of perdition." Who this Beeri was it appears not in Scripture. It seems he was a man famous in those days among the Israelites (and is here named honoris gratia, for honour’s sake to the prophet), as Alexander and Rufus, the sons of Simon the Cyrenian, were men famously known in the Church of the New Testament; and are therefore but named only by Mark. Mar 15:21 The Jews have a tradition, that whensoever a prophet’s father is named, that father was likewise a prophet as well as the son. And Beeri might be binominis, and have some other name of more note: like as Pethuel, the father of the prophet Joel, is thought by some to have been Samuel, and to have been called Pethuel, that is, a persuader of God, because what he asked of God he obtained.
In the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, &c. ] A young prophet he must needs be (especially if he prophesied fourscore years. See the note above). Haply he began as early as did Samuel, Jeremiah, Timothy, Origen, or Cornelius Mus; of whom Sixtus Senensis testifieth, that he was an admirable preacher at twelve years old.
Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah ] The throne of Judah had some interchanges of good princes: Israel none at all. The same justice therefore that made Israel a scourge to Judah, made Assyria a scorpion to Israel; as is here set forth under the type of Hosea’s two last children, Loruhamah and Loammi; whereof in their place, Meanwhile this prophet went through variety of conditions under so many different kings’ reigns (as did likewise Athanasius and Latimer), Jeroboam’s (especially), the second of that name, and here only named, when six other kings of Israel (in whose time Hosea prophesied) are not once mentioned, but lie wrapt up in the sheet of shame, because wicked idolaters, such as God took no delight in, and hath therefore written them in the earth.
And in the days of Jeroboam, the son of Joash ] Not the son of Nebat, that ringleader of the ten tribes’ revolt from the house of David; but another, little better, and yet very prosperous aud victorious, 2 Kings 14:25 ; 2 Kings 14:28 . He reigned also forty-one years, and did great exploits: yet is Hosea sent to contest with him, to declaim against his sin and wickedness, and to proclaim heavy judgments against him and his people. This the prophet did for a long while together with all fidelity and fortitude; when the king was triumphing over his enemies, and the people were not only drunk, but even mad again, by reason of their extraordinary prosperity ( non tantum temulenti erant sed etiam prorsus insani ), as Calvin expresseth it. Now that so young a prophet should so sharply contend with so fierce a people, in the ruff of their pride and jollity; that he should so rouse and ripple up these drunkards of Ephraim with their crown of pride, Isaiah 28:1 ; this shows him to have been of a heroic spirit. Jonah, his contemporary, flinched when sent against Nineveh. "Micah the Morasthite" (another of Hosea’s contemporaries) "prophesied in the days of Hezekiah, king of Judah, and spake to all the people of Judah, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Zion shall be ploughed like a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of a forest. Yet did not Hezekiah, king of Judah, and all Judah, put him at all to death," &c., Jeremiah 26:18-19 . He and Hosea, though they prevailed little with the people they preached to, yet they were better dealt with than the prophet Isaiah (their contemporary too), of whom Jerome tells us, out of the Rabbis, that he was sawn asunder, because he said he had seen the Lord: and, secondly, because he called the great ones of Judah, princes of Sodom, and rulers of Gomorrah, Isaiah 1:10 .
a An exclamatory sentence or striking reflection, which sums up or concludes a discourse or a passage in the discourse. ŒD
Hos 1:2 The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea. And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, [departing] from the LORD.
Ver. 2. The beginning of the word of the Lord by Hosea ] Heb. in Hosea: to note, that the Lord was both in his mind and mouth, in his spirit and speech. God spake in him before he spake out to the people. His prophecy must therefore needs be divine and deep. That is the best discourse that is digged out of a man’s own breast, that comes a corde ad cor, from the heart to the heart. And blessed are the people (saith one) that have such ministers, that shall speak nothing to them but what hath been first spoken by God in them: saying, with David and Paul, "We believe, therefore have we spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak," 2 Corinthians 4:13 ; we have experimented what we deliver; we believe and are sure, that God is in us of a truth, and that we preach cum gratia et privilegio, with grace and prvilege.
The beginning ] Hence some gather that Hosea was the first prophet: Hoseas videtur tempore et maiestate aliis prior, saith Oecolampadius. Certain it is he began before Isaiah (because he prophesied in the days of Jeroboam, who was before Uzziah); whether before Amos or not is not so certain. Eusebius tells us there was no Greek history extant before Hosea’s time. a Well, therefore, might that ancient priest of Egypt say to Solon, You Grecians are all boys and babes in matters of antiquity: neither is there one old man among you (Plato in Timaeo). Samuel is counted the first prophet, Acts 3:24 , but Hosea was the first of those that lived in these kings’ days, and likely held out longest; See Trapp on " Hos 1:1 " as did father Latimer, preaching twice every sabbath day, though of a very great age; and rising to his study winter and summer at two o’clock in the morning. Others read the words thus, At the beginning when the Lord spake by Hosea, he said to Hosea himself, "Go, take unto thee," &c. An uncouth precept, and a rough beginning for a young preacher, whose youth might be despised, and whose sharpness might be disgusted. But truth must be spoken, however it be taken; and a preacher should take the same liberty to cry down sin that men take to commit sin, Isaiah 58:1 . Jerome was called fulmen Ecclesiasticum, the Church thunderbolt; and our Mr Perkins applied the word so close to the consciences of his hearers, that he was able to make their hearts fall down and their hairs almost to stand upright (Mr Puller’s Holy State). But in old age he was more mild, and delighted much to preach mercy; as did also our prophet Hosea, whose prophecy is comminatory in the fore part, consolatory in the latter part.
And the Lord said to Hosea ] This is now the third time inculcated for more authority’ sake, which the people, so rubbed and menaced, would be apt enough to question. He therefore shows them his commission, and that he hath good ground for what he saith; that they may have no cause to cavil, but reply, as that good Dutch divine did (if God would give them a heart so to do), Veniat, veniat, verbum Domini, et submittemus ei, sexcenta si nobis essent colla: Let the word of the Lord come, yea, let it come, and we will submit thereunto, though we had six hundred lives to lose for so doing (Melch. Ad.).
Go take unto thee a wife of whoredoms ] An arrant whore, a stinking strumpet, scortum obsoletum, a known and trite harlot; such as were Thais, Lais, Phryne, &c.; yea, and such a one as, after marriage with a former husband at least, went astray after other sweethearts; for so the application of the figure to the subject, Hosea 2:2-5 , requireth it to be understood. Whereby it appears (saith Diodati) that all this was done in a vision. Others infer as much from that phrase in this verse, "The beginning of the word of the Lord in Hosea," that is (saith Polanus), appearing and speaking to him by an inward vision, as it were in an ecstasy. Besides, in the third chapter and three first verses, the prophet is bidden to marry another harlot, to buy her for his own use, and to keep her at his house for a time. Now, scimus hoc non fuisse completum, saith Calvin; we know that this was never really done. It follows therefore that this figure was only proposed to the people, that they might perceive, in the looking glass of this allegory, first, their duty towards God; second, their disloyalty; thirdly, their penalty for the same. It is not a historical narration, but a prophetic vision. "Children of fornication, a bustardly brood," such as this "evil and adulterous generation" is; sons of the "rebellious whorish woman, children of transgression, a seed of falsehood," Isaiah 57:4 . The Hebrews call such children brambles, such as Abimelech was, who grew in the hedgerow of a harlot: they call them also Mamzer, as ye would say, a strange blot; and Shatuki, or silent, because when others are praising their parents, such must hold their peace, and hold down their heads with shame enough, because they are bastards.
For the land hath committed great whoredoms ] Fornicando fornicata est, i.e. frequentissime et fiedissime, most frequently and most filthily. See Ezekiel 23:2-4 , throughout. Aholah (that is, Israel) played the harlot when she was mine, Ezekiel 23:5 , In her youth they lay with her, Ezekiel 23:8 , so that she might say, with that impudent strumpet, Quartilla, in Petronius, that she could never remember herself a virgin: yea, she grew old in her adulteries, Ezekiel 23:43 , opened her feet to every passenger, and multiplied her whoredoms, Ezekiel 16:25 . Meretricis scilicet hoc est meretricissimae. Such a common prostibulum prostitute is the whore of Rome, whom her followers call piam matrem, quae gremium claudat nemini. a pius matron who excludes no one. Joan of Naples was a saint to her. Idolatry is spiritual whoredom in many respects. It defiles the soul, God’s bridal bed. It breaks the marriage knot, and discovenants. It enrageth God, who in this case will take no ransom. It subjecteth men to God’s deepest displeasure: it besots them and unmans them: they that make idols are "like unto them, so are all they that trust in them," Psalms 115:8 .
Lastly, idolatry is seldom without adultery, in a proper sense; as appears in the old heathens, at their feasts of Priapus, Lupercalia, &c., the Canaanites had filled the land from one end to another with their uncleanness, Ezra 9:11 ; and in the Papists today, who reckon fornication a venial sin, have their stews allowed them; yea, among the very Indians, who abhor their most loathsome living. And for Rome itself - tota est iam Roma lupanar, it is become a great brothel house, and her stench is come up to heaven, as Matthew Paris (one of her sons) long since said.
Departing from the Lord ] In whom all amiables and admirables are concentred. This did exceedingly aggravate the unkindness.
a De Praep. Evang. l. 20, c. ult.
Hos 1:3 So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son.
Ver. 3. So he went ] He said not, "This is a hard saying, who can hear it?" John 6:60 . Dura mihi praecipit, et paene terret. He doth not reason but run, dispute but despatch. God must be obeyed, though we see no sense for it.
And took Gomer ] which signifieth both consummation and consumption, to show that she was consummata meretrix, a complete whore, had all the tricks of a whore; and brings her paramours to final consumption, utter extermination.
The daughter of Diblaim ] Not quasi de Belaim, a place so called, as Hugo dreameth: though there was a wilderness of this name, whereto some think the prophet here alludeth, to show the Church’s wretched beginning in its own nature: as Son 3:6 Ezekiel 16:7 . But Diblaim is by some taken for Gomer’s father: by more, for her mother, which is also held to be a harlot, according to that, Ezekiel 16:44 , "As is the mother, so is the daughter." Diblaim signifieth bunches of dried figs, that were the delicacies of those times. Gluttony is the gallery that lechery walketh through. Sine Cerere et Libero friget Venus. Concupiscence (as Plato saith) hath the lowest places, and is alligata ventri, as one would tie a horse or an ass to the manger. Jer 5:8 not unfitly compareth sensualists to fed horses, neighing after their neighbours’ wives. Saturity breeds security, which is the sure forerunner of destruction. Est ergo hic gnome, saith a Lapide, i.e. Here we have, then, an elegant sentence, Gomer is the daughter of Diblaim, that is, rottenness of sensuality: for as the worm that grows in the fruit, devoureth it; so doth grief, the pleasure of sin. This observation we have from the Cabalists.
Hos 1:4 And the LORD said unto him, Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little [while], and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel.
Ver. 4. Call his name Jezreel ] For the honourable name of Israel is too good for this people; call them therefore Jezreel, a people devoted to dispersion, and such as I will scatter into the four winds of heaven, as the seedsman scattereth his seed ( זרע spargere to scatter). Thus Jeconiah is called Coniah (for a judgment upon him): Bethel, Bethaven; Har, Hammischa, the mount Olivet, or of unction, Har Hammaschith, the mount of corruption, 2 Kings 23:13 . And this is not unusual among men; so when they would disgrace a man, to clip or play upon his name: as when they spitefully called Athanasius, Sathanasius; Cyprian, Coprian (as if all his excellent works were but dung); Calvin, Cain, &c. This people, saith God here, are more like Ahab than Jacob. Call them therefore Jezreel (Ahab’s court), that is, a den of thieves and murderers, where innocent Naboth cannot be master of the vineyard that he was born to. Micah (who prophesied also much about these times) hath a saying much to the same purpose, Micah 2:7 : "O thou that art named the house of Jacob, is the spirit of the Lord straitened? are these his doings?" q.d. Ye that boast of Jacob to be your father, do you tread in his steps? are ye of his spirit, of his practice? was there such vile profaneness found in him as is openly found in you? David describeth the generation of such as "seek God, as seek his face," and then subjoineth, "this is Jacob," these are Israelites indeed, these are Jews inwardly, Psalms 24:6 : and all others are degenerate plants, and are the worse for their outward privileges: since "tribulation and anguish shall be upon every soul of man that doeth evil, but of the Jew first, and then also of the Gentile," Romans 2:9 .
For yet a little while ] And yet this little was a long while, through God’s gracious forbearance. As bad as this people were, they should not perish without warning; yea, though the Lord foreknew they would make no good use of it. Fιλει ο Yεος προσημαινειν , saith the heathen historian Herodotus: God loves to forewarn, and premonish. But there is nothing more dangerous and dismal than these still revenges; as when God suddenly brake out in wrath upon Nadab and Abihu, upon Nebuchadnezzar, Herod, Pharaoh at the Red Sea, when he would not beware. It is a just both desert and presage of ruin, not to be warned. See this in Nineveh, spared at first, but after a little while revolting, soundly paid for the new and old faults, Nahum 3:19 . Non consurget iterum afflictio, saith the same prophet. Nah 1:9 Affliction shall not rise up the second time: God will not make two doings of it: but when he begins, he will also make an end, 1 Samuel 3:12 , that is, as sure as he begins, so sure will he make an end: and though it may be some time ere he begin, yet a little while (for he is slow to wrath and of great kindness), yet assuredly he will "avenge the blood of Jezreel," i.e. the executions done by Jehu upon the house of Ahab, as so many murders: see 1 Kings 16:7 2Ki 9:24 ; 2 Kings 9:31 ; 2 Kings 10:11 ; 2Ki 10:17 This God did not presently, but that is nothing. Nullum tempus occurrit Regi, nedum Deo. He is slow, but sure, Et tarditatem supplicii gravitate compensat, as the heathen (Val. Max.) could say, the longer he holds, the harder he strikes: and visits Jehu’s house for past sins, that they made little reckoning of. Sin may sleep a long time, like a sleeping debt, not called for of many years: as Saul’s sin in slaying the Gibeonites, not punished till forty years later: as Joab s killing of Abner slept all David’s days: as Amalec perished, for their ill usage of Israel, many hundred years after. It is ill angering the Ancient of Days. He that saith. "Vengeance is mine, I will repay it," takes his own time for the doing of it: and who shall prescribe to him? It is dangerous offending him whose displeasure is everlasting. Vapours, that ascend invisibly, come down again in storms and showers. A sinner of a hundred years shall be accursed, and made to possess the sins of his youth. It is not the last sand that exhausts the hour glass, nor the last stroke that fells the oak. Jehu’s house is visited, and his progeny extinguished in the fourth generation, for Jehu’s offences. God’s work must be done truly, that there be no halting, and totally, that there be do halving. But Jehu, as he had not that true heart spoken of by the apostle, Hebrews 10:22 , but was double minded, James 1:8 ; James 4:8 (like that mad Neapolitan that said he had two hearts, one for God, and another for him that would); so he fulfilled not after God, or he followed not God fully, as Caleb did, Numbers 14:24 ; he did not all God’s will, as David, Acts 13:22 ; he served him not with a perfect heart, as Asa, 2 Chronicles 15:17 . He reformed the State, but not the Church; or if he did something toward it, yet he was not thorough in it. He had a dispensatory conscience: for though he rooted out Baal’s worship, yet the golden calves must continue; piety must give place to policy. It was a just complaint of Chemnitius, Principes regionem potius quam religionem quaerunt: pauperes panem potius quam Christum. All men seek their own, but not the things of Jesus Christ, Philippians 2:21 . And yet piety hath ever proved to be the best policy: and the very philosopher in his Politics gives this golden rule: πρωτον περι θειων επιμελει , (Arist. Pol. l. 7. c. 8.), first take care of divine things. Jehu seemed at first to be as zealous a reformer as Jehoshaphat: but though his fleece was fair, his liver was rotten. In parabola ovis capras suas quaerebat; he was like the eagle which soareth aloft, not for any love of heaven: her eye is, all the while, upon the prey; which by this means she spies sooner, and seizeth upon better. He seems to have been of Machiavel’s mind, viz. that virtue itself should not be sought after, but only the appearance: because the credit is a help, the use a cumber. Finally, of Jehu it may be said, as Marcellinus saith of Julian, that by his hypocrisy and double dealing, Obnubilabat gloriae multiplices cursus, he stained his many praise worthy practices. Or as Camden saith of King Henry VIII, Fuerunt quidem in eo rege, confuso quodam temperamento mixta. There were in that king great virtues, and no less vices mingled, or rather jumbled together. Or lastly, as Fellers Galeazo reporteth of Sforza, Duke of Milan, that he was a very monster, made up and compact of virtue and vice. See more Hosea 1:5 .
And I will cause to cease the kingdom ] This happened after 76 years, which God counts and calls here but a little while. A thousand years with him are but as one day. What is our life but a spot of time between two eternities? "It is even a vapour," saith St James, Jam 4:14 "that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." "Let us therefore fear, lest a promise being left us (and a door now opened) of entering into God’s rest, any of us should seem to come short," or to come lag, and late, Hebrews 4:1 , as did Esau, the foolish virgins, those that come a day after the fair, an hour after the feast. Agree with your adversary quickly, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel, Currat paenitentia, ne praecurrat sententia: Repent a day before death (and that may be this day before the next), make God’s judgments present in conceit, ere they come in the event; prevision is the likeliest way of prevention, the surest means of mitigation: whereas coming on the sudden, they find weak minds secure, make them miserable, leave them desperate.
Hos 1:5 And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.
Ver. 5. I will break the bow of Israel ] Though it may seem to have a back of steel, and though it be drawn by Jehu himself, with his full strength, as once against Jehoram, to the piercing of his heart, 2 Kings 9:24 . He means, God will blast all the power of their ammunition, defeat their likeliest projects and practices, and make the strongest sinew in the arm of flesh to crack. "He breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder," &c., Psalms 46:9 . He rendereth the weapons vain, or successful, Isa 54:17 Jeremiah 50:9 , as he did when the rats and mice were sent into Sennacherib’s army in great, abundance, to gnaw and devour their quivers, bow strings, belts, bridles, shields (as Herodotus relates), to show that the shields of the earth belong to the Lord, that the militia of the world is his, that he orders the ammunition, Jeremiah 50:25 . And the like was done by this Lord of hosts, or armies, when the wind and weather fought for Theodosius, in that famous battle against the tyrant Maximus, celebrated by Claudian (Aug. de Cir. Dei, 1. 5). As also when the Spanish Armada was defeated and discomfited by the English in 1588. That was very remarkable, and for our purpose apposite, which occured in the battle between Edward III of England and Philip of France. Philip, enraged with a defeat, resolves presently to revenge it; and hardly had patience to stay in Abbeville one day, while the bridge to pass over his army was being repaired. And with this precipitation and fury, into the field he marcheth, elevated with an assured hope of triumphant victory. But it happened otherwise; for there fell at the instant of the battle a piercing shower of rain, which dissolved their strings, and made their bows useless.
In the valley of Jezreel ] A city near to Maximinianopolis, saith Jerome. Of the valley wherein this city was situated, see Jos 17:16 Judges 6:33 . It was in the tribe of Manasseh, and bordered upon Issachar, Joshua 19:18 . It was ten miles long, and two miles over; being called also the plain of Galilee, and was fit for a fight, for a pitched battle. Here it was, saith Adrichomius, that Gideon fought the Midianites, Judges 6:7 , Saul the Philistines, 1 Samuel 31:1-3 , Ahab the Syrians, 1 Kings 20:21 ; 1 Kings 20:29 . And here Zechariah (the last of Jehu’s line) was slain, and with him the kingdom of Israel received such a wound, that it could never rise again. Monarchies have their times and their turns, their rise and their ruin. Junius renders it Propter Vallem Iericho, I will break the bow of Israel, because of the wall of Jezreel: that is, saith he, because of the slaughter of Ahab’s house there made by Jehu, 2 Kings 10:1-8 . Jehu’s tent in that execution was rewarded as an act of justice, quoad sabstantiam operis, and yet punished as an act of policy, quoad modum, for the perverse end. Finibus non officiis a vitiis discernuntur virtutes, saith Augustine: By the ends, and not by the works done, are virtues distinguished from vices. Two things make a good Christian, and declare him so, - good actions and good aims. And although a good aim doth not make a bad action good (as in Uzziah), yet a bad aim makes a good action bad, as here in Jehu. There may be then, we see, malum opus in bona materia, a work materially good, which yet may never prove so formally and eventually: sc. when there is a fail either quoad fontem, or quoad finem. A thing which I see in the night may shine; and that shining proceed from nothing but rottenness. Blazing comets (though but comets), as long as they keep aloft, shine bright. But when they begin to decline from their pitch, they fall to the earth, and infect the air. So when Illuminates forsake the Lord, and mind only earthly things, being all for self, they lose their light, and go out in a snuff. Jehu’s golden calves made an end of him and his, though he made an end of Ahab’s house and Baal’s worship. His rooting out of Ahab’s race was but to settle the crown better upon his own head. Like unto him was our Richard III, who well knowing (saith the historian) it was no policy to play the villain by half, is resolved to leave never a rub to lie in the way, that might hinder the true running of his bowl. Like unto him also (saith Master Calvin upon this text) was our King Henry VIII, who cast off some degree of Popery, so far as would serve his own turn: but there were the six articles in force (that whip with six cords, as that martyr called it) for which many suffered at that time. And whereas (like Sulla) he commanded others, under great penalties, to be no Papists, himself was either Papist or atheist, jeering at some for their old Mumpsimus, a and at others for their new Sumpsimus, b as he profanely called the Reformation: hanging Papists on the one side of the hedge for denying his supremacy, and burning Protestants on the other side thereof for denying transubstantiation, &c. And hence, it may be thought, is that dreadful and dismal ruin that is now (in these our days, and in the fourth generation or succession) befallen the royal family. The house of Jehu fareth the worse for Jehu. Offa, king of East Saxons, lived in the time of Charles the Great, and was a potent prince. But the many injuries he did, and the murder he committed in his house upon Ethelbert, king of East Angles, coming to him under a public faith, and a suitor to his daughter, were justly revenged upon his posterity, which, after him, declining, in the end lost all. But to return to Jehu: we shall find, 2 Kings 10:30 , that God said, that because Jehu had shed the blood of Ahab in Jezreel, that he would reward him for it: and that his children to the fourth generation should sit upon the throne of Israel, and govern that kingdom. And yet, for miscarriage in the manner, justly plagueth his posterity. As Xerxes crowned his steersman in the morning, and yet hanged him in the afternoon of the same day. And as Mareschal de Thermas, the French general, first knighted a French soldier in Scotland who first mounted a besieged fort (by that means taken), and then hanged him within an hour after, for doing it without order.
a One who obstinately adheres to old ways, in spite of the clearest evidence that they are wrong; an ignorant and bigoted opponent of reform. ŒD
b A correct expression taking the place of an incorrect but popular one (mumpsimus). ŒD
Hos 1:6 And she conceived again, and bare a daughter. And [God] said unto him, Call her name Loruhamah: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away.
Ver. 6. And she conceived again ] To show, in a continued allegory, the weak and woeful state of the ten tribes, when the Assyrian took from them all the land of Gilead and Galilee, together with all the land of Nephthali, and carried them captive, subduing, in a manner, five tribes of Israel: to wit, those without Jordan (who as they had first their inheritance given them, so they were now first carried captives), and the tribes of Zebulon and Nephthali, who were seated in the land of Galilee. And this was the first captivity of Israel: see 2Ki 15:29 Isaiah 9:1 .
And bare a daughter ] This age is compared to a daughter, because from that time forward, after the bow of Israel was so broken, as Hosea 1:5 , they should be no more able to defend themselves than if they were a commonwealth of women. Their spirits should be so cowed out and emasculated, their backs so bowed down with unsupportable burdens and bondages, that there was scarcely place left of a worse condition, nor hope of a better. Like them were those we read of Isaiah 51:23 , that yielded to such as would but say to them, "Bow down that we may go over you." Or as those in Nahum, Nahum 3:13 , Their "men shall be as women," Aχηιδες ουκετ Aχαιοι , a timorous and cowardly, like Issachar’s ass, Genesis 49:14 (whose lot fell in Galilee, Jos 19:18 ), or those fugitives of Ephraim, Judges 12:4 , that therefore bare a brand of dishonour, because they would not rather die bravely than live basely. Of such it may be said, as of harts and stags, they have great horns and strength, but do nothing with them, quia de est animus, because their spirits are imbased: as the Israelites in Egypt were of old by Pharaoh, and as the Grecians are to this day by the Turk.
Call her name Loruhamah ] When God once calls a people or a person by this name, we may well write upon their doors (if any place be yet left for prayer, any good to be done by it), Lord, have mercy upon them: their condition is deplorable, if not desperate. Vade frater in cellam et dic, Miserere mei Deus, Brother, go into thy cell, and say, Lord, have mercy upon me, said Crantzius to Luther, when he began to declaim against the pope, for he looked upon him as an undone man, and yet he was not (Scaltet. Annal.). But those are doubly undone, to whom God shall say, as here to Israel,
I will no more have mercy ] Heb., I will add no more to show mercy: but my so often abused mercy shall turn into fury. That it is not so yet with this sinful nation, that we are not yet a Loruhamah, an Aceldama, that we are not already as Sodom, and like unto Gomorrah, even a place of nettles and salt pits, a perpetual desolation, as another prophet hath it, we may well cry out, O the depth, the fathomless depth of God’s dear love to England, Isa 1:9 Zephaniah 2:9 . Certain it is that we have hitherto subsisted by a miracle of his mercy, and by a prop of his extraordinary patience. Certain it is that God hath not dealt with England according to his ordinary rule, but according to his prerogative royal. England (if one may so speak with reverence) is a paradox to the Bible. God grant that being lifted up to heaven with Capernaum in the abundance of blessings, she be not brought down to hell by the abuse of them; that God set not that sad impression of Loruhamah (worse than any black Theta) upon her, and make her know the worth of his undervalued favours by the want of them: why should it be said of us as once, Anglica gens est optima flens, et pessima ridens? why should we provoke the Lord so long till he shall resolve upon an evil, an only evil, i.e. without mixture of mercy, Ezekiel 7:5 ; till the decree bring forth, Zephaniah 2:2 , and God pronounceth that fatal sentence against us that he did once against the old world, Fiat iustitia, ruat mundus, Let justice be done, though the world be thereby undone. "Of all God’s attributes he can least abide an abuse in his mercy; God’s mercy is precious" (saith one), "and he will not let it run out to waste; he will not be prodigal of it. There is a time wherein God will say, Now I have done, I have even done with this people, mercy hath had her turn, &c. I will not always serve them for a sinning-stock, but will take another course with them: I will take my own and be gone: and woe be unto them when I depart from them." When the sun is eclipsed, all creatures fade and flag here below. "Thou hiddest thy face, Lord, and I was troubled," Psalms 30:7 . David could not live but in the light of God’s countenance: he begs for mercy everywhere, as for life. Never did poor prisoner at the bar beg harder for a psalm of mercy than he doth, Psalms 51:1 , and other places. Neither would common mercies content him, he must have such as are proper and peculiar to God’s own people, even the "sure mercies of David." Oh, make sure of mercy, whatever you go without. And the rather, because there are a race of Loruhamahs, a sort of such among men as are excluded from mercy. God is not merciful to any wicked transgressors, Psalms 59:5 , that go on in their trespasses, Psalms 68:21 , that allow them and wallow in them. That last letter in God’s name had need to be well remembered, Exodus 34:7 , "He will by no means clear the guilty." And that terrible text should never be forgotten by those that are obstinate in an evil course, and bless themselves when God curseth them, Deuteronomy 29:19-20 . God’s mercy goes often times in Scripture bounded by his truth: and as the same fire hath burning heat and cheerful light, so hath God plagues for the obstinate and mercy for the penitent. Surely as he is Pater miserationum, the Father of mercies: so he is Deus ultionum, the God of vengeances: as he hath ubera, blessings, so he hath verbera, whip, treasures of punishments for those, especially that kick at his bowels, that despise his longsufferance, that argue from love to liberty, which is the devil’s logic. Cavete a Melampygo.
But I will utterly take them away ] Tollendo tollam, so Calvin renders it: and further tells us that some render it comburam, I will burn them; and indeed war is fitly compared to fire, that cruel element, and to extreme famine, Isaiah 9:19-20 . The Vulgate Latin translateth it obliviscendo obliviscar, I will utterly forget them, and that is punishment enough: as when one carried himself insolently toward the state of Rome, a grave senator gave this counsel, Let us forget him, and he will soon remember himself. Woe be to those to whom Christ shall say, "Verily, I know you not," I have utterly forgotten you. Mercer rendereth it, Levabo, id est, proieciam, I will lift them up, that I may throw them down again with the greater poise. The LXX hath, "I will set myself against them in battle array." Now "the Lord is a man of war," Exodus 15:3 ; yea, he is the Lord and Victor of wars, as the Chaldee there paraphraseth. But what meant the Chaldee here to render this text by parcendo parcam eis, sparing, I will spare them: is not this point blank against Loruhamah? How much better Tremellius, ut ullo pacto condonem istis, that I should any way forgive them. Have I not pardoned them enough already? may I not well by this time be weary of repenting? I will even break off my patience, and forbear to punish no longer: "I have long time holden my peace, I have been still and refrained myself; now will I cry like a travailing woman" (who bites in her pain as long as she is able), "I will destroy and devour at once: I will, I will," Isa 42:14 The ten tribes never returned out of captivity, unless it were some few of them that came up with the other two tribes out of Babylon, Ezra 2:1 , by the appointment of Cyrus, and some others that fled home when Nineveh (where they were held captive) was destroyed; but for the generality of them, whether they abide in China or Tartary, or West Indies, I cannot tell you. Pareus rendereth it, nam tolerando toleravi eos, for I have a long while borne with their evil manners. And surely subito tollitur, qui diu toleratur, as an ancient saith, God’s patience will not always hold.
a Hom. II: sic Virg. Phrygiae, neque enim Phryges.
Hos 1:7 But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.
Ver. 7. But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah ] The ark and the mercy seat were never separated. Judah had not utterly cast off God, as Israel had; but worshipped God in the temple (how. corruptly soever), therefore they shall have mercy, because they kept the right way of worship. See the Church’s plea for mercy to this purpose, Jeremiah 14:9 . Again, Judah was now in a very great strait, having been lately beaten and plundered by Israel, 2 Kings 14:12 , therefore they shall have mercy. God heard Hagar’s affliction and relieved her. "I have seen, I have seen the sufferings of my people in Egypt, saith God, and am come to ease them," Exodus 3:7 . "Because they have called thee an outcast, saying, This is Zion, whom no man looketh after, therefore I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord," Jeremiah 30:17 . He will repent for his people when he seeth their power is gone, Deuteronomy 32:36 , when there is dignus vindice nodus, an extremity fit for Divine power to interpose. He knows that mercy is never so seasonable and sweet as when misery weighs down, and nothing but mercy turns the scale; therefore Judah shall have mercy, when Israel shall have none. True it is, that Judah was not at this time much better than Israel, Aholibah than Aholah: they were scarce free from sodomy and many such like foul abominations. But what of that? if God come with a non obstante, as Psalms 106:8 , "Nevertheless he saved them for his name’s sake," &c., who shall gainstand him? if he will show mercy for his name’s sake, what people is there so wicked whom he may not save? See Isa 57:17 Ezekiel 20:8 ; Ezekiel 20:14 ; Ezekiel 20:22 ; Ezekiel 20:44 . Add hereunto that Israel and Syria were confederate against Judah, and thought to have made but a breakfast of them, Isaiah 7:5 ; but God here promiseth Judah mercy; and lets them know, to their comfort, that there is more mercy for them in heaven than there can be misery in earth or malice in hell against them. True it is, that even after this gracious promise made to Judah, it went very hard with them. See 2 Chronicles 28:6 , there 120,000 of them were slain in one battle, and 200,000 of them carried captive: yea, and all this by these Israelites here rejected from that mercy that Judah is promised; besides abundance more misery that befell them by Edomites, 2 Chronicles 28:17 , Philistines, 2 Chronicles 28:18 , Assyrians, 2 Chronicles 28:20 &c. Ecclesia haeres Crucis, saith Luther, The Church, as she is heir of the promises, so is she of the cross: and the promises are always to be understood with condition of the cross. The palsy man in the Gospel, healed by our Saviour, heard, "Son, be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee," and yet he was not presently freed of his disease, till, after a dispute held with the Pharisees (which must needs take up some time) and the case cleared, Jesus said, "Arise, take up thy bed and walk," and so show thyself a sound man. But to go on: Judah shall be saved, and not Israel, that envied Judah and maliciously sought their ruin. David looketh upon it as a sweet mercy, that God had spread him a table in the presence, and maugre the malice, of his enemies, Psalms 23:4 . And the children of the kingdom (so the Jews are called) shall gnash their teeth, and be even ready to eat their nails at the reception of the Gentiles, Matthew 8:11 . This was that which put the men of Nazareth into an anger, and our Saviour into a danger, Luke 4:25 ; Luke 4:29 .
By the Lord their God ] That is, by the Lord Christ, by Messiah their Prince, by the word of the Lord their God, saith the Chaldee here, that Word essential, John 1:1 , that true Zaphnath Paaneah (that is, Saviour of the world, as Jerome interprets it), whereof Joseph was but a type. This horn of salvation, or mighty Saviour (able to save them to the uttermost, εις το παντελες , that come unto God by him, Heb 7:25 ), God raised up for these unworthy Jews, and even thrust him upon them, whether they would or no, Isaiah 7:13-14 , that all might appear to be of free grace. Well might God say, "I will have mercy upon the house of Judah": matchless mercy indeed! mercy that rejoiced against judgment. Man’s perverseness breaketh not off the course of God’s goodness; Judah shall be saved by the Lord their God, who is Alius from his Father, but not Aliud, a distinct person, not a distinct thing. This angel of God’s presence saved them, in his love and in his pity he redeemed them, &c., Isaiah 63:9 , even the angel that had redeemed their father Jacob from all evil, Genesis 48:16 ; and that, soon after this prophecy, destroyed so many thousands in Sennacherib’s army, "Not by bow nor by battle," &c., but by his own bare hand immediately and miraculously, 2 Kings 19:35 ; where we may see that when Sennacherib (after the example of his father Salmaneser, who had captivated the ten tribes) came up against Judah, having already devoured Jerusalem in his hopes, and thinking to cut them off at a blow, as if they had all had but one neck, they were saved by Jehovah their God: the virgin daughter of Zion knew well the worth and valour of Christ her champion, and that made her so confident, Isaiah 37:22 . She knew whom she had trusted, not with her outward condition only, but with her inward and everlasting, with her precious soul, saying with David, "I am thine, save me; for I have sought thy precepts," Psalms 119:94 . "I will not trust in my bow, neither shall mine arm save me: but thy right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance, for thou hast a favour unto me," Psalms 44:3 ; Psalms 44:5 . See Trapp on " Zec 4:6 " See Trapp on " Zec 14:3 " See Trapp on " Zec 14:5 " That is an excellent passage, Psalms 21:13 , "Be thou exalted, O Lord, in thine own strength: so will we sing and praise thy power."
Hos 1:8 Now when she had weaned Loruhamah, she conceived, and bare a son.
Ver. 8. Now when she had weaned Loruhamah ] That is, after that the patience of God had waited and long looked for their conversion; but all in vain, he resolved upon their utter rejection. And first he sent for his love tokens back again: he weans them and takes them off from those "breasts of consolation," Isaiah 66:11 , the holy ordinances, deprived them of those dugs (better than wine, Son 1:4 ) that they had despised, carried them far away from that good land that abounded with milk and honey: the men of the East should be sent in upon them "to eat their fruit and drink their milk," Ezekiel 25:4 . "This nation" (saith a divine) "is sick with a spiritual pleurisy: we begin to surfeit on the bread of life, the unadulterated milk of God’s word, and to spill it. Now when God seeth his mercies lying under the table, it is just with him to call to the enemy to take away." Say not here, with those in the Gospel threatened with this judgment, "God forbid," Luke 20:16 . Think it not a thing impossible that England should be thus visited. The sea is not so calm in summer, but it may be troubled with a storm: the mountain so firm, but may be moved with an earthquake. We have seen as fair suns as ours fall from the midst of heaven, for our instance, Lege historiam, ne fias historia. Read history lest you become history! Surely, except we repent and reform a little better than we have done yet, a removal of our candlestick, a total eclipse of our sun, may be as certainly foreseen and foretold, as if visions and letters were sent us from heaven, as once to the seven Churches of Asia, who sinned away their light, &c.
And bare a son ] Not a daughter, as before, but a son, because under Hosea, the last king of Israel, that kingdom began a little to lift up the head, and to stand it out against the Assyrian. But this was but extremus nisus regni, the last sprunting of that dying state. For soon after, Samaria, the chief city, was closely besieged: and although it held out three whole years, with a masculine resolution, yet at length it was sacked, and all the people of the land carried captive, young and old, naked and barefoot, even with their buttocks uncovered, &c., as it is said of their confederates the Egyptians, Isaiah 20:4 , and as it shall be done at length to that purple whore of Rome, who shall be stripped naked, broiled, and eaten, Revelation 17:16 . A cold sweat stands already upon her limbs: and, for a presage of her future ruin, it is observed that Rome, since it became Papal, was never besieged by any but it was taken. As for their late masculine attempts and achievements (if any), it is but as here in the kingdom of Israel, a lightning before death, as the blaze of a candle a little before it goes out, the bulging of a wall that is ready to come down, or as it was said of Carthage a little before it was taken, Morientium bestiarum violentiores esse morsus, dying beasts bite cruelly.
Hos 1:9 Then said [God], Call his name Loammi: for ye [are] not my people, and I will not be your [God].
Ver. 9. Call his name Loammi ] Nomen extremum et deploratum, saith Pareus, the last and most lamentable name of all, containing a most heavy, but spiritual, and therefore less sensible, punishment, viz. an utter abjection and abdication from the covenant, from grace, from God, from life eternal.
For ye are not my people ] But, being totally cashiered, and discovenanted; "Are ye not as the children of the Ethiopians unto me, O children of Israel, saith the Lord? Have not I brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt, and the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir?" Amos 9:7 : q.d. True it is, I have brought you up out of Egypt (and therein you greatly glory), but have I not done as much as all this for those profane nations here mentioned? with and among whom, hence forward I shall reckon you, for you are no people of mine, but discarded, and dispeopled. Till the covenant made with Abraham, all nations were suffered to walk in their own ways, Acts 14:16 , as fishes pass at liberty through the paths of the seas, Psalms 8:8 . One person was no more respected than another. But as soon as it was said, I will be thy God, and the God of thy seed after thee, the Church became as fish cast into a pond for peculiar use, and was divided from other nations no otherwise than light was from darkness in the first creation, or than Goshen was from Egypt in that wonderful separation. But here God seems to rescind his own act, to cast off the people of his purchase, and utterly to disown them; as once before he also did, when he fathered them upon Moses, saying, "Thy people, which thou hast brought out of Egypt," &c., Exodus 32:7 . But this (we must know) is no other than mutatio rei non Dei, effectus non affectus, facti non consilii, not a change of God’s will, but only of his works. "For hath God indeed cast away his people? God forbid. God hath not cast away his people, whom he foreknew," Romans 11:1-2 . "Thus saith the Lord God, If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel, for all that they have done, saith the Lord," Jeremiah 31:37 . And albeit (by an angry aposiopesis) he says here, "I will not be your God" (the word "God" is not in the original, ab irate omittitur, it is omited from anger, saith Mercer), yet to show that he is Baal Chemah, One that can rule his wrath, as Nahum 1:2 , he subjoineth here, Hosea 1:10 ,
Hos 1:10 Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, [that] in the place where it was said unto them, Ye [are] not my people, [there] it shall be said unto them, [Ye are] the sons of the living God.
Ver. 10. Yet the number of the children of Israel ] i.e. of the Israel of God, those Jews inwardly, the circumcision indeed, which "worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, putting no confidence in the flesh," Philippians 3:3 , but saying each for himself, as the good Father Bernard did, Horreo quicquid de meo est, ut sim meus; All my care is "to be found in Christ" ( sc. when sought for by the justice of God), "not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith," Philippians 3:9 . Lo, to such Israelites indeed, and of such, it is here promised (the Lord in judgment remembering mercy) that they shall be "the sand of the sea which cannot be measured nor numbered." This was first promised to Abraham; and afterwards confirmed with an oath, Genesis 22:16 . It began to be fulfilled, when, by the preaching of the apostles, so many of both Jews and Gentiles came in and were converted to the faith of the true Messiah, as St Paul expoundeth this text, Romans 9:24-25 , and he had "the mind of Christ." It shall have its full accomplishment when the fulness of the Gentiles shall come in, and all Israel shall be saved, Romans 11:26 . Then the Church shall be as the stone that smote the image, it shall become a great mountain, and fill the whole earth. Though the beginning of it be small, yet the latter end of it shall greatly increase, Job 8:7 , for all the earth shall be filled with the glory of Christ: "he shall have dominion from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth," Psalms 72:8 ; Psalms 72:11 ; Psalms 72:17 . Great is the paucity of God’s people for present: but let us, by the help of this promise, get above that stumbling block. Cosmographers tell us that if we divide all the known world into thirty parts, the heathens’ part is as nineteen of this thirty; the Mahometans as six, the Christians as five only: and of those five more than the one-half is held by idolatrous Papists. But let not this discourage us; it will be otherwise one day, for the "Scripture cannot be broken." And although God may seem utterly to have abandoned his ancient people the Jews (the ten tribes especially), yet they, as well as the rest, shall be vouchsafed this honour to be called to the participation of Christ, Ezekiel 37:16 ; Eze 37:19 Jer 3:12-13 Isa 11:12-13 Oba 1:20 Zechariah 10:6 Romans 11:26 . If God after so dreadful a threatening come in with his non obstante (as he doth likewise, Psalms 106:8 , and elsewhere) and say, Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be, &c., who shall gainsay him? Their interpretation is too narrow that understand this text of the increase of this people in all their dispersions, until the time of their conversion. And that of Rabbi Ezra is pretty, though not proper; that as the sand keeps the waves of the sea from breaking in and drowning the world, so doth Israel preserve mankind from perishing by the waves of God’s wrath. It should have been considered by him and the rest of those refractory Rabbis, that at that general conversion of the Jews (here plainly foretold) there shall be some stubborn spirits that will not even then stoop to Christ; but will be filled with envy, as those cankered Pharisees their forefathers were Act 13:44-45 to see almost the whole city come together to hear Christ; yea, they will be ready to say, as John 12:19 , "Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the whole world follows him." Now against these spiritual spirits, the wrath of God shall be revealed from heaven, Rev 21:8 Daniel 12:2 Isaiah 65:11-17 .
And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them ] As if God did now even repent, and would make them a full amends: make them glad according to the time, and in that very place when and where they had seen evil, Psalms 90:15 . Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in Jerusalem, Zechariah 12:6 . The Jews (it is thought) shall dwell in their own country, Jeremiah 3:18 ; Jer 23:8 Eze 37:11-12 Amos 9:14-15 ; and God have a very glorious Church in the land of Canaan. But that is not all; the Gentiles, who shall be made a spiritual Israel, though in time past they were not a people, yet now are they the people of God; and which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy, 1 Peter 2:10 , yea, such a signal mercy as St John cannot look on without an Ecce admirantis; " Behold," saith he, "what manner of love" ( qualem et quantum, as 2Pe 3:11 ) "the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God," 1 John 3:1 . Yes, the sons of [the living God] who as he lives, so he gives us all things richly to enjoy; and is therefore to be trusted, 1 Timothy 6:17 . And that we should not only be God’s people, but his sons (reconciled, but adopted), and not only be so, but be called so, have the name and the note, the credit and the comfort. Well might the apostle say, that the grace of God herein had abounded even to an overflow, υπερεπλεονασε , 1 Timothy 1:14 . Well may Oecolampadius say as he doth upon this very text, Vide ut maior gratia quam peccatum, See that greater grace than sin. Behold, how as sin abounded, grace superabounded. Well might Leo say, Omnia dona excedit hoc donum, &c., This is a gift of God, that exceedeth all gifts, that man should call God Father, and God call a man his son; this is a greater dignity than to be called an angel, archangel, cherubim, seraphim, &c. See more of this in my "Righteous Man’s Recompense," Part 2, doct. 5. Calvin upon this verse noteth, that there is an emphasis in these words, "It was said," and "It shall be said"; the latter showeth that till the Lord speak peace to his people, and say to their souls that he is their salvation, they cannot have the comfortable assurance of their adoption and acceptation into his favour: Ephesians 1:13 , "After that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; ye believed and were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise." Again, if God by his prophets had said to any, "Ye are not my people," &c., he will effect it. God heweth men by his prophets, and slayeth them by the words of his mouth, Hosea 6:5 . Elisha hath his sword, as well as Jehu and Hazael, 1 Kings 19:17 . Ezekiel besiegeth Jerusalem, and overthroweth it. Jeremiah is "set over nations and kingdoms to root out and pull down," &c., Jeremiah 1:10 . St Paul hath "vengeance ready for the disobedient," 2 Corinthians 10:6 . And what God’s ministers do on earth he ratifies in heaven, Matthew 16:19 ; Matthew 18:18 .
Hos 1:11 Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great [shall be] the day of Jezreel.
Ver. 11. Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together ] i.e. they shall unite into one body, and one religion, and shall all make one entire kingdom, Ezekiel 37:22 ; Ezekiel 37:24 . Christ once lifted up, shall draw all things to himself, John 12:32 : and wherever this carcase is, there will the spiritual eagles be also, Matthew 24:28 . Caiaphas, like another Balaam, prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation: and not for that nation only, but that also he "should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad," John 11:51-52 . This is the gathering together here mentioned: Christ shall be one among his people, and his name one, Zechariah 14:9 . See Trapp on " Zec 14:9 " They shall serve the Lord with one shoulder, Zephaniah 3:9 . It seems to be a metaphor taken from oxen that are yoked together, and that set their shoulders jointly to the work. Surely, the more the gospel prevaileth, the more peace there will be. They shall be gathered together in that day. So when Christ shall be preached, and obedience yielded to his government, Isaiah 9:7 , then shall there be a blessed harmony of hearts: then shall they fly in flocks to the ordinances, as the doves to their windows: then shall they come to the Lord’s house upon "horses, and in chariots, and in litters," Isaiah 66:20 .
And appoint themselves one head ] The Lord Christ, called David their King, Hosea 3:5 . A multitude gathered under this one head, and united to him, is a Church. This head is indeed appointed, and set up over the Church by God, Psa 2:6 Ephesians 1:22 . But the saints are said to appoint Christ their head, and, indeed, to set the crown upon his head, as Song of Solomon 3:11 , when they choose him and embrace him for their sovereign, when with highest estimations, most vigorous affections, and utmost endeavours of unfeigned obedience, they set him up in their hearts, and serve him in their lives; giving him the preeminence, and holding all in capite in Christ: yea, holding of the head, as the apostle’s expression is, Colossians 2:19 , not of Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas. That popish buzzard was utterly out, who said that he had found in the dictionaries that Cephas signifieth a head, and that therefore Peter was head of the Church. For neither does Cephas signify a head, but a stone or rock; nor, if it did, would that prove what he allegeth it for. Judah and Israel shall appoint to themselves one head, not more than one. The Church is not bellua multorum capitum: neither is there any need of a ministerial head of the Church: indeed, there is a contradiction in the very mention of it (as one well observeth), - a ministerial head! it is absurd to speak it.
And they shall come up out of the land ] i.e. they shall be gathered into the heavenly Jerusalem, saith Oecolampadius; they shall come up from their miserable life, saith Luther: from their earthly affections, saith Jerome. Rather, from Chaldea, or wherever they lie captivated and dispersed, to Jerusalem; there to join in the same way of worship (as once the 12 tribes did before the schism under Jeroboam) with the Christian Church, and so go on the way to the kingdom of heaven.
For great is the day of Jezreel ] i.e. of Christ (saith Jerome), who is God’s seed, and shall see his seed, and so prolong his days by a succession of saints, Isaiah 53:10 , for whom God also will do great things in that day of his power, Psalms 100:3 , when there shall be a marvellous increase of his Church, which he shall sow with the seed of men and of beasts, revealing his arm (another etymology of the word Jezreel) for the ingathering of his elect, Jer 31:37 Ezekiel 36:38 . Sic, Octogesimus octavus mirabilis annus.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Hosea 1". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26